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Thread: Has anyone picked up on this?

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Hello, Just wanted to start a new thread...wondering if anyone else has picked on some strange little "beats" from LOTR , the book.... Long after Bilbo has left the Shire, Gandalf and Frodo are talking about the Ring in Bag End. Gandalf remarks that the the ring seems to grow smaller & larger, and is sometimes heavier ....Frodo remarks, "yes, Bilbo warned me about that in his last letter..."??? Bilbo , by this time, we must assume was aleady in Rivendell. Are we to assume that Bilbo was writing to Frodo, from Rivendell...??? Even assuming there was a postal service between Rivendell & the Shire...(which seems highly unlikely...Isuppose a travelling Dwarf might occassionly bring some mail...)...this would mean that Frodo would have already known Bilbo was in Rivendell...but he clearly didn' came as an enormous surprise to him.... Ahhh...but I think I may have the solution....maybe what Frodo meant by "his last letter" was a letter that Bilbo left behind when he left ...??? Hmm...what do we think, guys.....??

Definitely the latter. Look how much trouble Butterbur had finding someone willing to take a letter to the Shire. Who would be delivering mail from Rivendell? It was Bilbo's last letter in the sense it was the last letter he wrote and left for Frodo, most likely in the envelope left on the mantelpiece containing the Ring and his will and other documents.

ahh...that's what i thought too....yes, I don't think "middle Earth Mail"  had really got started yet...would have been kind of like "The Pony Express", I guess..haha!!...nice to talk to you by the way, Pretty Tyrant, don' t think we've talked before?....

I'm new in these parts, sort of visiting.


The 'last letter' line also struck me the way it did you the first time I read it. And the first time you read it of course you have no idea of how likely it is or not that Bilbo could send letters as you don't even know where he is. It is one of those quirks of the language that the wording can feasibly mean two things and it depends on knowledge of the context to know for certain which.

Absolutely, language can be so all depends on also throws up one of the big differences between the book & the the book there were 17 years between Bilbo leaving The Shire & Frodo leaving....It's funny isn't it...there were many differences in the film that have been noted...but the one that no one seems to reference, is the age of Frodo....Elijah Wood was 18 when he made the film, and I think Frodo was kind of meant to be the same age(obviously)...but in the book Frodo was 50 ..(yes..50 !!!) when he left the Shire....!!!

I am normally on the side of the book in most things, but..I dont you think a 50 year old Frodo would have looked right ?....

I don't think Frodo ever looked fifty. In the book the Ring, from the moment he receives it (33) slows his aging. And hobbits live longer, with 33 being there 'Coming of Age' it is not unreasonable to see this as equating to the human 21. Frodo's appearance of a hobbit just out of his 'Tweens' is remarked upon by the worthies of the Ivy Bush round a pint. Just out his tweens in human equivalent therefore would be just out of the teenage years, so Elijah is not far off age wise.

Yes, I take your point....all the ages need to be referenced in relation to to the average life spans...indeed, Aragorn was 87...but he is one of the Dunedain, blessed with long life...he eventually lives to be..what ?...700 is it ? i think the appearence of Viggo was about right....

Yes but whats with Viggos accent in the films? He's good on the eye and an excellent actor but his accent as Aragorn changes not only film to film but often scene to scene.


I never liked the 17 year break being removed. And I don't buy the reason given on the commentary that it would slow the film down either, as having watched my brother Petty's megaedit of the films where the 17 years is reinstated it not only does not slow the film it works better, putting the conversation in the inn referencing 'that old Bilbo Baggins, he was cracked' in a better context in that it sounds like longer should have passed between the party and someone saying that, and making sense of the physical appearance of Bilbo at Rivendell, and Frodo's reaction to seeing him again. In PJ's version there is at best only a few months between Bilbo leaving Bag End and Frodo turning up at Rivendell. Without the 17 year gap the film makes no sense at all on these points. But then its not the first nor last time in those films PJ jettisons sense or logic within his story in favour of spectacle or rushing to a point.

I never got the impression that Bilbo and Frodo stayed in touch after Bilbo left, but I had never really thought about the "last letter" line.  I have to agree with Pretty Tyrant that it probably refers to a letter Bilbo left behind before he left.

As for aging, I have never agreed with the school of thought that Hobbits at 33 look similar to humans at 21.  I think that the Hobbit "coming of age" date reflects not a physiological difference but a recognition that "young adults" in their 20s are not the same as "full" adults.  Tolkien's description of the 20s for Hobbits are "tweens, as the hobbits called the irresponsible twenties between childhood and coming of age at thirty-three."  As someone who spends a lot of time around college students at the lower end of that spectrum, I don't think it sounds that different from humans. indecision

With that in mind, I think that Elijah Wood was too young to play Frodo, although I have several other criticisms of him that irk me far more. wink

As for Aragorn, he lived to be about 210 years old and in the chapter "The White Rider" of The Two Towers he states to Gandalf that "I am no longer young even in the reckoning of Men of the Ancient Houses".  I imagine - though I am not confident enough in this mental image to defend it against determined criticism - that this would put Aragorn in the visual range of a modern human in perhaps their 40s.

Since Viggo was in his early 40s when they were filming, I think he was about the right age to play Aragorn.  Incidentally, Viggo was brought on at the last minute because the actor previously cast as Aragorn was dropped, largely for being too young.

Unsurprisingly I disagree about the Coming of Age thing Eldo dear. Tolkien was a Brit and the hobbits reflect British/English norms. For Brits the 20's are definitely adulthood with the Coming of Age equivalent at 18 legally and at 21 symbolically (keys of the door). (I remember mine well it lasted 3 weeks of dancing and drinking, happy days). And the 'irrepressible tweens' sounds very much like a human 'irrepressible teen' to me, a play on words. And when you take into account to the differences in life span I think it fits. is another little "beat"; ...just to get the arguments going...(I am nothing but a trouble

When Aragorn is telling the hobbits the story of Beren & Luthien, while they are camped at Weathertop; he says at the end,,,something like...(quoting from memory...I never have the book to hand....)..."Many are the Descendants of Luthien who still walk the earth"......well, there certainly are, and he is one of them!!!....(descended from Elros, First king of Numenor; Elros was the son of Elwing....grandaughter is it ? of Luthien ??)

is he just being coy here, do you think...?

Or does he not trust he hobbits enough yet to reveal this....??

He says at Bree, " I had to be sure of you first...the enemy has set traps for me before..."

Hmm...what do we think...?

Such a lovely romantic tale, and so appropriate that it be told before the attack on Weathertop. Sets a wonderful mood, the comfort of Aragrons voice speaking in the dark. (Shame PJ didn't do atmosphere, set up or subtly).

To your point I would say caution on his part. Admitting to that descent is admitting to descent from Numenor, not a safe thing to do, "There live still those of whom Luthien was the foremother....and of Earendil came the Kings of Numenor, that is Westernesse."

He goes as far as to tell the hobbits his lineage, he just doesn't tell them its his lineage. I think he trusts them therefore just not enough. I think its Gandalf who comments somewhere about how often betrayal or a loose word has cost them in the past. And with the reappearance of the Ring, something Aragorn has been hoping for his whole life, he would be extra careful, this after all for him is his one hope of becoming King and gaining the hand of Arwen. So caution I reckon.

Yes I think you are right, Pretty Tyrant, caution....when you read the histories..especially the Silmarillion; the one thing that undoes them time after time is is something that Morgoth used all the time..sowing seeds of doubt....

Yes I agree. And Aragorn is very cautious. Especially as he seems to know something of Bombadil "I need not repeat all they said to old Bombadil.." -Aragorn. 'old Bombadil' seems to hint at some familiarity, yet even knowing this he still does not trust these are the hobbits Gandalf has asked him to look for. And given one would think 4 hobbits the least likely to be recruits of the Enemy Aragorn would seem to be erring on the side of caution throughout his encounter with the hobbits (he could have spoken with them from any point after they leave the Barrow Downs, but he doesn't, he follows, waits and watches- all marks of being supremely cautious.


edit add- I would also add that the absence in any really sense of the Tale of Luthien from the films I suspect is not due so much to time constraints as that it puts the character of Aragorn in the book at complete odds with PJ's terrible script for Aragorn the reluctant King. Oh PJ why did you make such a mess of the script?!

Yes....also I think Aragorn knows more than he ever lets on...when the hobbits ask him what he knows, he says something like....."Too much...too many dark things....."

He may in part be referring to the Black Riders here about whom he knows a lot more than the hobbits. In fact although Gandalf tells Frodo of the Nine men corrupted by the Rings Frodo never makes this connection between them and the Riders (and nor does the reader therefore, at least I didn't first time through). For some reason best known to himself PJ decides to give all this away in the prologue and in showing the Riders being sent out and by having Saruman explain it to Gandalf-completely ruining the sense of mystery which surrounds the Riders in the book when they first appear and in doing so taking a lot of the terror from them.

Yes, and the way they filmed it...the hobbits were just across the road lying in bed, when the Black Riders tore up their matresses; Aragorn watching them from the window in quite a leisurely & detached manner ??..what was to stop the black riders just coming across the road....??

Its not even the Black Riders who do it in the book, PJ seems to have stolen that scene form the old animated film of LotR! (Along with quite a few others) The implication in the book is that their human agents carried the job out., there is no mention of the Riders breaking into Bree that night let alone assaulting the inn.

Aragorn would not have let on to the Hobbits who he actually was or his lineage due to the fact that his lineage was also a death sentence should the secret get out. It wasn't that he didn't trust the Hobbits, the fact is he didn't trust anyone, perhaps excepting Elrond, Mithrandir or Arwen. The Dark forces have many ways of hearing secrets in the outside world.  Beast and birds as well as their torturous ways of finding out info regarding the Ring Of Power.  Remember what they did to Gollum.

Butterbur was proud of the fact that he was considered a "lettered man".


Yes, lugdush....and wasn't  it a shame that they dropped the whole "letter" story in the of many niggles regarding the film....i thought it was so funny..."Butterbur they call him...if this delay is his fault, I will melt all the butter in him....he expected no less, and when he saw me he melted on the spot..."! funny...